Former Fort Worth Dunbar boys basketball coach Robert Hughes and former Granbury girls coach Leta Andrews are again finalists for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
They were also nominated last year, and are among 14 finalists announced Friday during NBA All-Star festivities in Toronto.
The Class of 2016 will be announced April 4 in Houston before the NCAA men’s championship game. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election.
Enshrinement is Sept. 8-10 in Springfield, Mass.
Hughes, 87, coached high school basketball in Texas for 47 years and ranks first on the all-time wins list for boys high school coaches, with a won-loss record of 1,333-247. He led his teams to 35 district championships and five state championships.
Hughes is again honored for the nomination, “I’m from beautiful Stop Six Texas, so I’m OK either in or out.”
He contends that two high school coaches who worked 49 miles apart will cancel each other out in the voting.
“I won’t get excited now because I don’t think the double thing’s gonna work,” Hughes said. “Nothing I can do about, but if they want to do it, do it.”
Hughes’ coaching career began at Fort Worth I.M. Terrell during the era of racial segregation. At Terrell, he won three Prairie View Interscholastic League championships. He then moved to Dunbar, where he won two UIL titles and built the Wildcats into one of the most consistent programs in the country. He retired in 2005.
Andrews, 78, coached for more than 50 years and is the all-time winningest girls high school coach, with 1,416 victories. She led her teams to 16 state final four appearances and a state championship in 1990. Andrews retired in 2014.
“It warms my heart in fact that they haven’t forgotten me,” Andrews said. “I couldn’t think of an award that would be any sweeter than the one named for the gentleman that invented the game of basketball.”
Andrews coached the West team in the McDonald’s All-America Game in 2004 and the West team in the Gatorade All-America Game in 2009. She was named the NHSCA National High School Coach of the Year in 2007 and won the Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. She was inducted into the High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Hughes served as head coach of the McDonald’s All-America Game West team in 2001, was named the NHSCA National High School Coach of the Year in 2003 and won the the Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. He has been inducted into the Texas Basketball Hall of Fame (1993) and High School Basketball Hall of Fame (2003).
Hughes still often scouts Dunbar games for his son, Robert Hughes Jr., the Wildcats’ coach since dad retired. The current team has already clinched a playoff spot.
“I went to freshman and JV games last night,” the elder Hughes said. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
The other finalists are 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson, eleven-time NBA All-Star Allen Iverson, two-time NABC Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon, three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal, four-time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes, and 10-time AAU National Champions Wayland Baptist University.
Previous finalists included again this year for consideration are the only coach in NCAA history to win 100 games at four different schools Charles “Lefty” Driesell, three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson, three-time Consensus National College Coach of the Year Muffet McGraw, four-time Division III national champion coach Bo Ryan, and four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton.